Yale Grad Students Conduct Hunger Strike In Between Meals

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/04/28/yale-grad-students-conduct-hunger-strike-in-between-meals/

Graduate student teachers fighting for better perks and benefits at Yale University have performed a feat thought to be impossible by waging a hunger strike in which snacking is apparently allowed.

According to a Yale Daily News report, eight members of the graduate student union Local 33 launched a hunger strike on the front lawn of President Peter Salovey’s home Tuesday night in an effort to jump-start collective bargaining negotiations. The rally is dubbed “Fast Against Slow.”

“What Yale could not stop, they are cynically trying to slow,” Local 33 Chair Adam Greenberg read from a distributed pamphlet at one point during the rally, according to the story. “Yale wants to make us wait and wait and wait… until we give up and go away.

“We have committed ourselves to waiting without eating.”

What the Yale Daily News did not report, however, is the fact that the pamphlets distributed at this week’s rally also ask other students to step in for hunger strike participants “when one of us cannot continue.”

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a screenshot of one of the pamphlets, which was uploaded onto social media by a Yale graduate who later set his profile to private, apparently after his post drew a sufficient amount of scorn.


A dramatic video uploaded to Facebook by Local 33 student graduates described the event as an “indefinite fast.”

“A fast requires a community around the fasters,” proclaimed graduate student Emily Sessions.

“Our individual struggles can be overcome through community and with the help of many people,” said Local 33 Co-Chair Robin Canavan.

“I hope that the fast will convey the urgency of the situation,” said graduate student Lukas Moe.

“It’s a path I’ve not traveled before, but it’s a path many others have,” Greenberg added. “And it’s a path that I’ll be traveling with my friends and colleagues.”

The video also quotes Cleve Jones, an LGBT rights activist who launched the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, who is supporting Local 33’s efforts and even manages to draw parallels between their plight and President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Your fast is an important part of resisting Trump’s agenda for our country,” Jones is quoted as saying.

Maria Elena Durazo, who has served as vice chairwoman for the Democratic National Committee since 2013, also chimed in with her support.

“Yale wants you to wait,” Durazo is quoted as saying. “Those in power always want the rest of us to wait. Your brave actions will speak louder than all of Yale’s noise.”

The university has noted, however, that doctoral students receive minimum annual stipends of $30,000, while “a tuition fellowship or other grants fully cover the annual tuition of $39,800.”

Students also receive free health care. The university estimates that over the course of a six-year doctoral program, Yale’s support equates to almost $375,000 for a single student.

The university also notes that students spend no more than 14 percent of their time teaching “as part of his or her training.”

The university later provided a statement to New Haven local television station WTNH News 8 regarding the situation.

“The university and UNITE HERE-Local 33 are jointly engaged with the National Labor Relations Board to resolve remaining issues concerning the unionization effort,” the statement read. “Yale will continue to respect this legal process, and accordingly has advised Local 33 that its request for collective bargaining is premature.”